North Shore playgrounds are back in business

The North Shore’s kids have been given the OK to resume monkeying around on the monkey bars.

Crews from all three municipalities and both school districts have begun pulling down the closed signs, caution tape and barriers blocking access to playgrounds since mid-March due to COVID-19.

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“With COVID-19 cases in B.C. now declining, and the encouragement from the provincial health officer to safely enjoy the outdoors, outdoor recreation facilities across the North Shore began reopening in mid-May,” a joint statement issued May 28 stated. “Crews are preparing to welcome the community back to outdoor playgrounds.”

Spokespeople from the municipalities said it would likely take a few days to get all of the playground and parks facilities reopened but they should all be ready by Wednesday.

The reopening has been a long time coming for the kids at Little Hands Daycare in the Lower Capilano area. As they arrived at the playground at Barbour Park Monday morning, the kids were madly off in all directions getting back to their favourite swings, slides and sandbox.

“They were asking every day when the playground will be free to go to,” said Roya Sadeghi, daycare owner. “I think they really miss the atmosphere of the park, the nature.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addressed the parks and playground issue on May 28, not long after the reopenings were announced.

“We're quite excited about that, actually,” she said. “These are important venues for children.”

Henry provided guidance to the municipalities on how best to reopen them.

“We know it has to be done safely and, again, it comes down to the very basics, making sure that we have small numbers of children trying to avoid physical contact … and the importance of hand hygiene,” she said.

Henry emphasized that both children and adults need to stay home if they are experiencing any symptoms at all that could be related to COVID-19.

Sadeghi said she is “not at all” concerned about the kids contracting the virus while playing outside.

The City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, District of West Vancouver and the North Vancouver and West Vancouver school districts will be posting signs outside the playgrounds reminding users of best practices.

“Users should follow public health guidelines including maintaining a two-metre physical distance and washing or sanitizing hands before and after use. While the playground equipment will be inspected prior to opening, it will not be sanitized,” the statement read.

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